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Airtel collaborates with Intel for 5G network development

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 21, 2021

Move part of telecom major’s 5G roadmap for India

Bharti Airtel (Airtel) will collaborate with Intel for 5G network development by leveraging vRAN / O-RAN (virtualised/ open radio access network) technologies. The collaboration is part of Airtel’s 5G roadmap for India as it transforms its networks to allow its customers reap the full possibilities of the hyper-connected world where Industry 4.0 to cloud gaming and virtual/ augmented reality become an everyday experience, the company said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

Airtel is the first telecom operator in India to demonstrate 5G over a live network and is conducting 5G trials in major cities.

Airtel will deploy Intel’s latest third generation Xeon Scalable processors, FPGAs and eASICs, and Ethernet 800 series across its network to build a solid foundation for rolling out wide scale 5G, mobile edge computing and network slicing, it said.

“Intel’s cutting-edge technologies and experience will contribute immensely to Airtel’s mission of serving India with world-class 5G services. We also look forward to working with Intel and home-grown companies to unlock India’s potential as a global 5G hub,” Randeep Sekhon, Chief Technology Officer, Airtel, said.

‘Make in India’ solutions

As members of the O-RAN Alliance, Airtel and Intel will work closely for developing a range of Make in India 5G solutions and enabling world-class telecom infrastructure in India through local partners. O-RAN will be an area of tremendous innovation and creativity in the coming years.

The O-RAN platforms will leverage Intel FlexRAN, a reference architecture with both software and hardware components, and enable software-based radio base stations that can run-on general-purpose servers located at the network edge.

Dan Rodriguez, Intel Corporate Vice-President, Network Platforms Group, said, “Being able to digitally power the vibrant population of India’s connected users requires scalable and agile networks that can evolve to address the growing demands of its users. Airtel is delivering their next-generation enhanced network with a breadth of Intel technology, to scale their infrastructure and deliver on the promise of a connected India.”

Led by affordable smartphones and the lowest data tariffs globally, India has the world’s second-largest Internet population at over 620 million as per IAMAI – Kantar Cube. The country’s active Internet user base is expected to grow to 900 million by 2025. The advent of 5G will further deepen the digital adoption through a range of industrial and customer use cases.

Published on July 21, 2021

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